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THE FROZEN GROUND (review)

frozen_groundTHE FROZEN GROUND
Written by Scott Walker
Directed by Scott Walker
Starring Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, and Vanessa Hudgens
 

Jack Halcombe: You know, he stalks them like his next trophy animal.

THE FROZEN GROUND is not the movie you might expect it to be. With the mismatched casting of Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, and Vanessa Hudgens, you might expect it to be a potentially passable attempt at a thriller. Surprisingly though, THE FROZEN GROUND brings out the best that each actor has to offer and brings them to their full potential. Unfortunately, that is not enough to save the film, or make this thriller even remotely thrilling.

THE FROZEN GROUND focuses on the investigation of Robert Hansen (Cusack), who is accused of kidnapping, raping, and torturing Cindy (Hudgens). Jack Halcombe (Cage) is the only cop in Alaska who really seems to care about what happened to her and is willing to go to whatever lengths he must in order to find the truth and have justice prevail.

The real issues here lie within the script itself, written by first time director, Scott Walker, and based on real events. With a 105 minute run time, there is only so much time to make a case and execute it effectively. This leaves the climatic conclusion to the last few minutes, which is not only its downfall but also a big disappointment. The entire movie builds this case up conclusively and then within five minutes it all comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying end.

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The premise of THE FROZEN GROUND presents a serial killer of girls in Alaska which cannot help but be compared to Christopher Nolan’s INSOMNIA, despite this film’s real life inspiration. The major difference between the two is that INSOMNIA is an exciting and suspenseful thriller, whereas THE FROZEN GROUND is not at all. In the latter, everything is laid out on the table at all times and one can see it come together, piece by painful piece, knowing exactly where everything will fit and removing any possibility it had to be engaging or twisted.

THE FROZEN GROUND is not all bad but the frigid, familiar story and lack of a climax force the film to take a nasty spill in the end. The aforementioned, unexpected performances are the only thing that keeps the audience engaged throughout but that does not suffice in the end. It certainly had the potential to be a memorable, even great thriller, but its inability to defrost the story in time is where it truly freezes up.

2_5

 

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